Exhibition "About Non Conscious Architecture". Milan, Galleria Giovanni Bonelli



About Non Conscious Architecture

curated by Marco Scotini

January12th – February 24th  2017

Opening Thursday January 12th, 7 pm

Giovanni Bonelli is glad to present for the first time in his gallery a large anthological exhibition of the works of Gianni Pettena focused on the artist’s activity between 1968 and the end of the ‘70s, a crucial decade for both society and the growth of art debate.

If already years ago Emilio Ambasz wrote that Gianni Pettena had never had enough recognition among the protagonists of the Radical Architecture movement, now he is being widely and internationally rediscovered and there is a totally new attention on his work as an artist, a condition that for years was subdued to that of the critic and interpreter of the Radical Architecture movement.

And it is precisely for this that Pettena’s figure and manifold activity seem today completely new and capable of gathering in itself such central issues for our time as the refusal of coded disciplines, the sabotage, the appropriation, the potential for action of the urban context and a new discovery of the physicality of places and of the natural environment.  Hence the title of the exhibition, which refers to a fundamental article by Pettena published on “Casabella”  in 1974 after his many trips in the south-west of the USA, from the Utah desert to the Monument Valley.

One year before, in 1973, his book “L’anarchitetto”, by now a legend, was published.  In the book one can find many similarities with the art practice that, in a perfect sincronicity, Gordon Matta-Clark was developing, although many are also the differences between the two.  In both artists the idea of not building but acting on the already-built is central, so that the unconscious or inconscious space that is usually not considered can surface.  As well as the idea of architecture and space as an event, as a continuous performance, that can be found in the relationship between Matta-Clark and Trisha Brown and in the one between Pettena and Giuseppe Chiari.

Marco Scotini decided to present a large selection of Pettena’s works of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, not to belittle the great value of the artist’s later work, but because he believes that it is in this period of his activity that Pettena reached such a crucial point in art making that was yet to be discovered and practiced.  In the exhibit will be presented works both known and not known which Pettena realized with different media.  In the center of the gallery will be re-built for the occasion one of his huge cardboard words, Carabinieri, (built for the first time in 1968) which still represents one of the most important examples of a semiotic intervention on space at that time, where the language itself reveals the kind of context (whether of catch or check) and clearly shows Gianni Pettena’s  ethical and esthetic radical research.

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